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Exciting time of the school year

The end of the school year is an exciting time. We celebrate all the accomplishments from the current year and start planning for next year.

Every spring it seems the year went quicker than the year before. As we work to review our end of year data, this is a great time to reflect on the goals we set last fall, action steps we established, and plan for continuous improvement for next year.

This year was much less impacted by COVID than the previous two years and it was so great to have our students in the classrooms. We still faced a few challenges this year, including a gap from what we typically would expect students to have mastered to where many started the year in both academics and behaviors.

Our teachers are top-notch and have reinvented their teaching models and instructional practices. They’ve spent countless hours looking at student achievement and growth data and re-designing lessons to meet the students where they’re at. They’ve done this with fewer available substitutes than we’ve ever seen, meaning much too often they’ve had to forfeit their preparation blocks to cover other classes and bring even more work home to complete outside school hours.

I can’t say enough how honored I am to work alongside such professionals who truly give all they have and then some in the name of supporting our students.

Of course, if we’re reflecting on the school year, I can’t omit the students. They have shown great resiliency throughout this entire pandemic, often taking things more in stride than us adults. As we’ve learned to teach and learn using technology at a whole new level from where we’re familiar or comfortable, the kids continue to be open to trying new things. Beyond academics, we see increased social and emotional needs that we’ve not experienced before. Even our youngest learners experience needs that we know are a priority to be able to meet academic needs.

Even though challenges exist, we have so many reasons to celebrate this spring. We’re finalizing spring testing and I anticipate we’ll see academic growth just like we’ve seen in behavioral growth throughout the year, but we know school is so much more than tangible test scores. Face-to-face instruction this year has meant more relationships have been built; connections and friendships that will be remembered long after some academic content is filed away.

Our seniors will be closing a chapter in their books and moving on to wherever their next chapter takes them. We’ll take time over the next few months to refresh and reset so we come to next fall ready for a whole year.

The community of Marshall is forever supportive of our schools and without the ongoing commitment and partnerships with the schools we would not be able to do what we do.

— Jeremy Williams is the superintendent at Marshall Public Schools

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